Monday, April 30, 2007

Walking Team Chat Group

Thanks to all of you who signed up for the WALK! Magazine Walking Team!

Unfortunately, because of a glitch in the software, the chat group is not yet set up. I'll continue trying over the next few days and will let you know when it works.

Thanks for your patience!

Celebrity Photo Shoot

I'm not sure I can handle much more "celebrity" treatment. I'm going to be spoiled!

Columbus Monthly Magazine is running a story about walking, and I was interviewed a couple weeks ago. Apparently they have talked to several people associated with walking and walking groups in Columbus. Today I met with a photographer from the magazine for a photo shoot. All weekend I had stressed about what I would wear since my new shirts without a typo are not here yet. (They are ready, I couldn't pick them up on Friday.) Believe it or not, I don't have very many different things that I wear walking and nothing I would call an "outfit." I have one pair of non-spandex shorts, a couple pairs of spandex shorts (one seriously faded) and a couple pairs of pants in various cold-weather weights. As you can imagine, I have TONS of race shirts, and a couple WALK! Magazine shirts. Deciding which shirt looked best with which shorts was hard - I've been photographed in races before, but not like this. Oh, and I have brand new bright yellow Brooks shoes. They go with nothing!

Anyway, the photographer and I met in a nice park and he had me walk toward him a few times. Finally he told me I should smile because I was supposed to be "happy" while walking. I was just being a serious walker trying to look like I knew how to racewalk. I wonder if I am the first person he has had to tell to be "happy."

He also took several shots of just my feet and legs. I find this funny because I don't wear capri pants just so that I don't emphasize the least attractive part of my body - my shins and ankles. (In high school, I worked at a restaurant where I stood for 8-hour shifts and this left me with huge blue veins on my pale white shins.) After the "action" shots he took a few posed ones - me stretching, leaning against a park sign, standing in the grass... My head was tilted this way and that. It was difficult to imagine how tilting my head to the left and lifting my chin would look when it felt so odd.

I don't know how models do it. It is very hard to put a genuine smile on your face when you are worried about veins in your legs, planting your heel, keeping your knee straight and hoping your arms are not moving out too far from your body. Though I am not a real racewalker yet, I hope it looks like I was trying to racewalk.

Oh yeah, I also hope I look "happy."

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Yea Nashville

The Country Music (Half) Marathon was great! I'm not going to write a complete review because there will be one in the Summer issue of WALK Magazine.

The 'wave' start is VERY annoying when the race starts. We got to the starting line about 55 min. after the race started. They started each corral individually which took a couple of minutes. I was in corral 29, so I guess 55 mins was good. Once we got started, and there was room enough to move around and not be wall-to-wall people, I decided I like the wave. I also liked every single band and singer, all of the water stops and the route. Though hilly, some of us thought it was not as tough as the Cincinnati Flying Pig. The difference is, Cincinnati has fewer hills, but they are so much more steep. At the top of some of them I was in severe pain and almost needed to rest.

In Nashville there were more hills, but they were rolling. They didn't bother me much at all.

My finish time was not embarrassing, but I have been much faster. 3:26+ is not horrible - with hills. (Maybe I should change my story and say the hills were HUGE!) My feet were killing me near the end of the race, and I'm not sure if it was because of the new shoes or because of all of the walking we did on Friday.

The Expo was very busy and well planned out. I didn't like that I had to pay for a poster, but this one was very nice and the artist autographed it. I bought it my second time through.

We got free entry to a Sara Evans concert. It was great!

Here is what I did wrong: Not only did I go through the Expo - twice - we walked up and down the main drag a LOT! I wore boots with heels for a lot of the walking, and my feet were hurting Friday night.

I stayed in a room with two other women and three in a room with two beds is too much if one is not your sister. I did not sleep particularly well.

I drank too much water and needed to stop once. Of course, if I had not had to wait 55 min to get to the start, I could have made it all the way through the race without stopping.

I wore my new shoes without really breaking them in. No blisters or anything, but my feet were sore.

Thanks Deb, Catherine, Elaine and Vonnie! It was a lot of fun!

Don't miss the complete race review, written by Deb, in the Summer issue of WALK!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Nashville, Here we Come!

I'm leaving in the morning to go to Nashville. I'm VERY excited about going to the Country Music Half Marathon. I go to a lot of races to promote the magazine, so it is exciting to be just a visitor.

I'm also very lucky. Because I'm a member of the Buckeye Striders walking club I have a great group of friends to walk with. There are 5 of us heading to Nashville. It's more fun to go to a race with friends. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind going to races and meeting people along the way. I've met some really interesting people doing just that. But the last two races I entered, I didn't meet anyone.
Anyway, I still prefer to walk with people.

By the way, I've decided to wear the new Brooks shoes.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Baseball Season has Started

I really enjoy baseball. I think the main reason is that the weather is rarely bad for a baseball game. If it rains, they don't play. If it snows, they take a break to blow the snow off the field. (Cleveland Indians fans will know what I'm talking about.) And I get to eat hot dogs! The best hot dogs are baseball hot dogs. (During football season they play during any weather! Yuck!)

For today's game, the weather was beautiful. The sun was shining, there was a soft breeze, it was a great day. (My son played well, which made it even better.)The biggest problem with baseball is it cuts into my walking. I end up with the most time to walk when games are called due to bad weather! LOL I am hoping I can figure out a way to walk a little during games. Some fields work better for that than others.

After today's game, I walked to the post office to wear my new shoes a little bit more and mail off some subscriptions. I'm still trying to figure out if I can wear these shoes at the half marathon this weekend.

Monday, April 23, 2007

New Shoes

I received my news shoes in the mail today! (I don't buy shoes through the mail unless they're exact same as a pair I already own.) This pair of Brooks were recommended by Curtis at Complete Runner in Flint, MI last week. They are nice and flexible with just the right amount of support for the foot that pronates.

I find it funny that the pair I tried on was white with red trim - the perfect pair for a Buckeye fan! The pair that arrived in the mail is a bright Maize - the perfect color for a Michigan Wolverines fan. Are you trying to tell me something Curtis?

I wore the shoes for a short 2-mile walk today. They are great! I'm not sure if I should wear them in Nashville this weekend for the Country Music Half Marathon. I've been assured that they have a very short break-in period, but it still makes me nervous. At the same time, I waited WAY too late to replace my shoes. I might not have a choice.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Computer Problems

I truly hate PCs - I've been a Mac person since day one of my publishing career. For a variety of sound reasons, I bought PCs for the WALK! Magazine offices. What I'm not used to is the additional viruses and weird corruptions that happen on PCs that never happen to Macs. And it is more difficult for me to locate the relevant files and fixes. So, for the past week, I've been battling some weird error message after another, but today everything is fixed!

The point of telling you this is, though I've had access to e-mail and Word, I have not been able to process orders or update my web site. Orders are being processed at a record rate, and tons of mail will go out later today!

I'm also planning to update a few things on our web site later today. Thank you everyone who have passed along links that don't work and other fixes. I really appreciate it!

Saturday Walk

Yesterday I finally had the chance to walk with the Buckeye Striders again. A few of us met early at 7:30 a.m. so we could fit in 6 miles. We are heading to Nashville next weekend for the Country Music Marathon. (We're doing the half.)

The weather was beautiful, the sun was shining, the company was great. I'm glad I went.

OK, here's a weird little problem. In all of my training for this half marathon, I've been feeling pretty good. Yesterday and the week before I had severe leg pain in the first two miles. Muscle tightness, shins killing me, it was hard to keep my left foot up. We weren't even walking that fast! I used to get this all of the time when I was training incorrectly, but I've been much better about training and stretching. It takes about two miles for it to go away, and then I feel as if I could go forever. In fact, yesterday I noticed that when the pain went away, I felt a warmth spread through both of my legs.

I'm a little worried about next Saturday's half marathon, I'm not quite sure how to deal with this.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Technical Shirts are on Their Way!

OK, I have FINALLY resolved things with the shirt screener! They have promised we will have the corrected technical shirts before May 2!

We do not intend to carry cotton shirts any longer. You cotton lovers - don't panic! We are going to work with a group that will print the shirts as they are ordered rather than having to maintain inventory. It will make everyone's lives easier (especially mine). We will even be able to offer other items like coffee mugs and training logs. We will continue to carry the technical shirts through our current online store and will have them available at race expos.

Thanks for being patient while we worked this out.

Catching Up

I had planned to walk while in Flint, but they had me on such a tight schedule I couldn't fit it in. So today, I got in 3 miles. I didn't really need to go to the library, but it is an easy route and it was sunny and beautiful today. So I walked up to the library, took one lap around the park, and came back home. It was a great way to work off some stress and enjoy a really beautiful day!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

We Love the City of Flint

Today the city of Flint, MI treated me like a queen! When we first came up with the idea for the Best City for Walkers and the Walker Friendly Event awards I had hoped we might get a little publicity and that winners might be excited. The city of Flint went above and beyond all of my expectations!

They held a very nice news conference for me to present the award to the Mayor of Flint and the Crim Festival of Races Race Director. There were maybe 50 people at the news conference with three TV stations. (Each station interviewed me individually.) There were many, many local dignitaries from the city as well as several local walkers. Even Judy Jackson, a well-known local walker and WALK! Magazine contributor, took the day off to attend the news conference. It was nice to see her again.

Everyone I met today was extremely friendly and excited about the city's recognition. Unfortunately, I met so many people their names have started to run together. Many people hung around after the news conference just to chat. They truly were a great group of people!

After the news conference I made a stop at both of the local "running" stores. I had not heard of The Complete Runner before, but they were wonderful and will now be carrying WALK! Magazine. I also stopped by Bauman's, one of the first stores to carry the magazine. (Both stores had representatives at the news conference.)Mark Bauman was on his way back from the Boston Marathon, so I didn't get the chance to say hi. I had not been there before and it's also a very nice store.

I'm not used to being the center of attention. Luckily no one noticed that I was extremely nervous. (At least they said they didn't notice.) But with people this nice, it was easy to get over it.

Thank you Flint for treating me so well! Thank you also to Dorie Barkey and Deb Kiertzner for planning the news conference, reserving a hotel room and taking me to breakfast. It was great meeting you. Thank you Judy and all of the local walkers who nominated the city. Your city definitely is well deserving.

I hope someone in the area will tape the local news coverage for me and send me some clippings! I can't remember the last time I was on TV - it would be nice to see how I did.

Things I learned while in Flint:
- Several hundred people meet every Tuesday to run and walk together in Flint. One number I heard was 800 people! I'm not sure if this is part of the Crim Training program or the year-round Crim Fit program. Regardless, it is impressive.
- Always number the pages of your speaking notes. Not only did I drop my notes on the floor, the Mayor knocked my notes on the floor.
- No matter how much of a hurry you are in, take a moment to find a map of Michigan and a map of Flint before you leave the house. I've been to Flint before, I know it can be confusing. It took much longer to get there than it should have.
- It is fun stopping at local running stores. I'll have to do that more often.
- Though it was easy to eat healthy on the way to Flint (I packed fresh veggies, low fat cheese and some crackers) it was way too difficult to avoid French fries on the way home. I caved.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Loveland Report

I was in Loveland Saturday for the Loveland Challenge. I was asked to speak about walking and had the opportunity to have a table in the picnic pavillion. The weather was miserable! It was raining pretty steady and was very chilly. The others in the pavillion were freezing! (I don't know why I wasn't.) A few people came by my table and asked questions about the magazine and picked up subscription information.

Unfortunately, because it was so cold, the people in the race did not spend much time hanging around! I ended up not having the chance to give my speech. Still, I met some really nice people from Ohio on the Move, Mercedes Benz, New Balance and Clif Bar, In fact, both New Balance and Clif Bar gave us items for the members of the Walking Team! Now walking team members will get New Balance water bottles and sample Clif Bars.

Despite not being able to give my speech, it was a fun day. Thanks to Rich for all of the publicity!

10 miles

I woke up bright and early today and immediately checked the Weather Channel to see what would be the best time to fit in my 10-mile walk. Though chilly this morning, in the low 30s, it looked like it was going rain this afternoon when it warmed up to the 40s. I decided to go early before the rain.

Again I overdressed with layers, my gator, gloves and more. I went to one of my favorite parks for the 10 miles. This is one of the few places in Columbus that has hills and since Nashville is hilly, it seemed like a good choice. It took quite a while for me to warm up today. Some sections were very windy, then I would hit a turn and suddenly be burning up. I'd work up a sweat, and then hit another windy section. There really was just no winning. It even drizzled on and off.

I finished nice and early and had the rest of the day to get things done. I was confident I had picked the best time of day to walk.

Later, the sun came out, the temps rose and no rain! In fact, the most unpleasant weather of the day was when I was walking. Oh, well, I got it in and I feel great!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

One More Time

I had decided I would stop writing about Ohio weather, but for another day this week, it was cold and rainy. Luckily the bright sun from one day earlier this week helped my mood enough I was still able to get out today. I was bundled and over dressed, but I was out walking. Weather reports say we might even snow again tomorrow. (Yuck!) I hope it is nice this weekend so I can get my 10 miles in.

On a non-weather related topic, my arms are pretty weak. In fact, I had a rotator cuff injury last year, so my right arm is even more weak than my left! (I won't explain how I injured my rotator cuff. Just too embarrasing.)

I decided it is time I finally do something about the situation and recently started lifting light weights. It's been a little over a week, and I can already feel a difference.

Most people don't realize that upper body strength and flexibility are important to walking. I'm hoping that as I work on my racewalking form, having a little more flexibility in my shoulders will help my speed.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

In the Mail

OK, the Spring issue is in the mail! Woo hoo!

In the News

A story about WALK! Magazine presenting Flint, Mi with the Walker Friendly City Award appears in the Flint Journal today. Check it out!

By the way, we will be presenting the award at a news conference in Flint next Tuesday.

A Little Sunshine...

It is amazing what a little sunshine and mild temperatures can do to improve a mood! Though not too sunny earlier today, by early evening the sun was really shining and it was beautiful. I was able to walk for over an hour and I feel great. The lethargy has reduced and my mood is MUCH better! I hope the weather holds for the 10 miler I'll need over the weekend.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Not Sure

I'm not sure why I was so worn out yesterday during and after walking. For some reason I was in a LOT of pain last evening. My lower back hurt and my legs felt VERY heavy. I wouldn't be surprised if I had just started walking. I wouldn't be surprised if I suddenly added a lot of distance, but I walked only 4 miles or so. I'm wondering if part of the problem is from cleaning and re-arranging my office. (I tried to get help with the heavy boxes, but I did lift and move some I probably should not have lifted.) I started a medication that has a few side effects, but none of them sound like this. It can cause depression, though. hmmm

I felt better today, but my legs still feel a little tired and heavy. After everyone left this evening, I went out for a short walk of maybe 15 min. and it helped.

I'll try walking a couple of miles tomorrow and see how I feel.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

I'm a Wimp

OK, I'm officially a wimp! I will never again make fun of warm-weather walkers who cannot handle temps in the 40s.

Today I needed to get in 8 miles. It was pretty chilly this morning, so I decided to do some cleaning and organizing first. As the day went on, it got colder and snowed more. The snow was even sticking to the ground! Finally, it was late enough in the day that if I didn't go, I wouldn't go. I was bundled up in a winter coat, with heavy gloves and went out. I decided to walk the mile to the library, do a couple of laps at the park and head back.

It was cold and the wind was blowing pretty hard. By the time I got to the main intersection down the street, the snow was pelting my face pretty hard! I almost turned around.

I decided to go all the way to the library to decide how far I would walk. (It's a little bit better than the 5-min rule.) With the houses and buildings on that street, the wind was not much of a factor. When I got to the park, I had to turn straight into the wind. Geez it was cold! I tried one more lap before I finally gave up. When the wind is blowing so hard I have to hold my hood on, it's time to head home!

So, after only a little more than 4 miles, I gave up. Yes, I am officially a weather wimp!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Update on Spring Issue

As I reported earlier, our printer forgot to mail the Spring issue to our subscribers. Every copy was delivered on our doorstep Tuesday morning. ARGH!

The printer furiously tried to find a local mailing house to pick up the magazines and mail them. By the time they found a mailing house Wednesday, it was too late in the day for them to be picked up. The magazines were picked up today. The mailing house has the mailing list. Unfortunately, it takes 2-3 days to sort and process mail. The last message I received said the labeling will happen Friday, and the magazines will be in the mail on Monday, April 9.

April 9 is a long way away from March 22 - our first mail date!

Highs and Lows

Tuesday of this week, the temps were in the 80s. Wednesday and Thursday we are in the 30s. I've probably said this a hundred times - I'm OK walking in the cold if I'm acclimated. However, the severe temperature shifts make it very difficult for me to walk.

Yesterday I felt so cold, I didn't walk. It was sleeting! Yes, I wimped out. To make up for it, I did go out for an hour today, but I WAY overdressed! Winter coat, blue jeans, heavy gloves... Though it was snowing, I did work up a sweat and I even took off my hood.

It is supposed to be cold for a few more days, but we might be up to the 50s by Easter. Woo hoo! I will continue to follow my training schedule the best I can.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

You Won't Believe This ...

because I don't. I got a phone call from my printing rep today. Apparently they had neglected to mail the magazines to the subscribers. The entire print order was delivered to my house today!

He has a solution. He has assured me he will find a mailing house, have the magazines picked up and mailed tomorrow.

I'll let you know if that actually happens.

One More Thing

This is the last post about Charleston - I promise!

My husband dropped me off about a half mile from the starting line. Weaving in and out among the other people added at least half a mile to my total distance. And, even though my feet hurt, we walked around the party and through some shops on our way to the car. I figure I walked over 8 miles. Not the number of miles I needed in my training schedule, but I was also standing for two days beforehand.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Printer Problems - Same Story Different Printer

I don't know what it is about WALK! Magazine and printers. I have been in the publishing industry since the early 80s. Yes, I have occasionally had a problem with a printer. However, over the last two years, I have had more problems with printers producing WALK! Magazine than I would expect! I am beginning to wonder if it is because we are a small publication. Maybe they feel they can push us around.

I don't understand giving a delivery date and not coming close to meeting it! What is worse is missing a deadline and not even telling the customer! Well, that is what happened with the Spring issue.

Getting the Spring issue to the printer in time to mail in April was more difficult than usual because of a death in the family earlier in the year.(It takes a few months to get an issue together.) When I submitted the files, I was assured the magazine would mail on March 22. I won't go into the gory details, but I will tell you the magazine mailed on March 30!

I'm not quite sure what is going to happen. I can't continue working with a printer that cannot meet a deadline and will not keep me informed. (I just dropped one who had that problem.) However, I know I'll never get consistency if I switch printers with every issue.

In the meantime, I will do the best I can to make these companies at least TRY to keep the deadlines they set.

Lots to Say

Being away from unlimited computer usage for a week can be rough! And though I enjoy posting regularly, I'm not going to pay 73 cents a minute (hotel rates) just to jot down a few ideas. That said, following are some of the things I had wanted to say last week.

Orlando was beautiful! Though not there for a race, I was able to get some good walking in. I took one 40-min. walk up International Drive between meetings, took a shower and went back for more meetings. That evening we walked up International Drive again looking for a restaurant with a less than 90-min. wait, were unsuccessful and ended up dining at the hotel. So technically, I got in more like 80-minutes of walking.

The evening before the Cooper River Bridge Run, we were invited to a sponsors' cruise on the river. It was a fantastic event! The food included jambalaya, crawfish, oysters, crab cakes and tons of other items. The free beverages were unlimited. The awards given to the largest sponsors were beautiful! They were cut crystal bowls on wooden bases with engraved plaques. We met some locals who showed us points of interest on the shore, gave some history of the city and were just plain fun. We also got to see the bridge from underneath. It was just a wonderful evening! The staff of this race are extremely generous to the race sponsors.

At the CRBR Expo, I stood for nearly 10 hours both Thursday and Friday. Our booth was set up for 12 hours each day (we snuck out early on Friday). I tried switching shoes to see if it helped my feet, but it didn't. My thin-soled long-distance shoes were horrible for standing on a hard floor all day, so I didn't keep them on for very long. My feet have never hurt so bad in my life. My knees were also starting to swell. Saturday partway into the race, my left knee was hurting and I had to stop and wiggled the knee cap a little to see if I could get it to stop. (I did.) After the race, my feet were so sore I was worried I might have a stress fracture and had difficulty walking to the car. Some Ibuprofen and rest made a huge difference. By the time we hit the second rest stop on the drive back to Ohio I could walk normally again.

BTW: I do not condone exhibitors leaving early. This bothers me even more when the race staff is as great as the staff at the CRBR. That said, between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. we had maybe one person come by the booth, and we were supposed to be there until 10 p.m. I even started aggressively approaching people and handing out magazines. It was not until I went to the upstairs part of the Expo and saw how many people were pouring in to get their race numbers, but none coming downstairs, that I realized we made the right decision. As an exhibitor, it is frustrating to prepare for several thousand people, and not have those people even enter the Expo Hall. Walking the event, I saw there were thousands who entered the race, but never saw the exhibitors.

I know I'm a little different at times, but I LOVE Expos! (In a previous job I had to go to the Linen and Laundry Show, and loved every minute of it!) I especially love sport and fitness Expos. I love to see the new products, I like to see the creative displays, I enjoy learning about new races. I rarely take samples of products I don't want, I talk to exhibitors and I thank them for being at the race. I know that most people who enter races are not like this. Still, it would be nice to at least make an appearance at the Expo.

I know there were several more things I wanted to say, but I just can't remember what they were. I guess that is my cue to quit for now.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Back from South Carolina

We just got back from the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC. The city is very nice and the people were fantastic!

The race is different from what I expected. When I figured out that about 40% of the participants were walkers we were VERY excited about being part of the Expo. We were expecting to see anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 walkers. My husband went with me to be sure we could handle the crowds.

Though we had a fantastic booth location, the number of people who came to the booth was pretty small. In fact, we handed out fewer than 600 magazines during the Expo and several people took more than one sample issue. All of the exhibitors in the lower level, where we were, closed up at least two hours early on the last night, Friday evening. After packing up the car, I went upstairs to locate a woman with the local MS organization. I could not believe how many people were moving through! It was VERY crowded! So, how come there were tons of people upstairs, and none in the Expo downstairs? Well, they were descending the stairs and walking straight out the building.

Many of the people we met over those two days asked if I was entered in "the walk." That confused me and I said I was entered in "the race." I don't recall so many people all calling the "walking division" of a race "the walk" before. I thought it was just a "localism."

The day of the race, it all made sense. I was in the middle of the corral with the walkers and soon realized that I was one of just a few who intended to go fast. There were so many people I could not get up closer to the runners if I had tried, so there may have been many walkers who were very fast that I never saw.

After the start, I did my best to pass people and pick up speed. (More details will be in the Summer issue of WALK.) I came across a few people who were also trying to be fast, but not many. There were people with strollers, couples holding hands, groups holding huge banners, tons of people in blue jeans.... This was anything BUT a race! The majority of these walkers were just enjoying an opportunity to walk across the bridge with their friends and the community!

Even after 6.2 miles, I NEVER got in front of the people who were out for a nice stroll because there were so many walkers. In fact, I crossed the finish line alongside people pushing strollers. (Not running with strollers, walking with strollers.)

After a while, I realized this event was like one other event I enter regularly - the Race for the Cure. Now, I love the Race for the Cure, but not once have I been able to "race." I do it for the camaraderie and walking for a cause. I realized that this event was just like that - people do it for the camaraderie and because it is their race and their bridge. It is very cool how they love their bridge.

A few people who missed the tables with the medals asked where I got my "medallion." I found the choice of word interesting. It must be another "localism."

So, this was a good and bad two days. The people we met were fantastic. The race was interesting. The race staff were great and the sponsor cruise was fabulous! The city was very nice. (Our hotel was horrible.) And the expo was not so good for us. We'll see in a couple of days how well we did based on the number of subscriptions we get.

OK, here is my final point, and I have got to get to bed. I was walking with thousands and thousands of walkers. Why weren't these people at the Expo?